Tag Archives: Christianity

Sarah Palin Pastor’s Re-Education Scheme “May Seem Like Totalitarianism”

While Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has recently raised the specter of totalitarian government by warning about “death panels” she claims are part of the Obama administration’s health care plan, Palin herself has ties to a prominent Christian pastor who publicly advocates the establishment of a government regime that, in his own words, “may seem like totalitarianism” and would re-educate citizens in ‘correct’ decision making — an approach reminiscent of re-education campaigns during the violence-wracked Chinese communist Cultural Revolution.

Last March, Sarah Palin enjoyed an extended telephone consultation and pep talk with Morningstar Ministries founder and head Rick Joyner, who has contacts among Republicans in Congress and whose ministry is closely tied to Palin’s most important Alaskan church, the Wasilla Assembly of God.

Even some of Sarah Palin’s most dedicated fans might be taken aback by Joyner’s enthusiastic advocacy for an authoritarian religious state. In a “prophecy” published June 19, 2007, Rick Joyner wrote, “The kingdom of God will not be socialism, but a freedom even greater than anyone on earth knows at this time. At first it may seem like totalitarianism … Instead of taking away liberties and becoming more domineering, the kingdom will move from a point of necessary control while people are learning truth, integrity, honor, and how to make decisions, to increasing liberty so that they can.”

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Sarah Palin: Religion in Politics – The Wasilla Project (Video)

Below is a statement from the Wasilla Project, filmmakers who traveled to Wasilla, Alaska to learn more about Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

In this, the second of four videos by the Wasilla Project, we are covering Sarah Palin’s background as a social conservative, and how she has used her religious affiliation to advance her political career.

In 1996, when Sarah Palin first ran first mayor of Wasilla, she brought new elements into the race that her townspeople had never experienced before. The position of mayor in Wasilla had traditionally been secular and non-partisan, and she ran a campaign that featured both her fundamentalist Christianity and her opposition to abortion. Many observers felt that they were unusual issues for small town politics, but they proved successful in the conservative climate of the times.

Sarah Palin beat her opponent John Stein by more than 200 votes. The final tally was 617-413. Palin’s fundamentalist church affected the community in other ways as well, such as taking over the local hospital board and banning abortions. The ban was challenged in lower courts and when the hospital appealed to the Alaskan Supreme Court, their ban was denied in a landmark decision that made national news at the time.

In this film you’ll see the following people from interviews we conducted September 26th-28th, 2008:

Anne Kilkenney, Wasilla resident. Anne’s letter about Sarah Palin to friends and family became a viral sensation after Palin’s nomination as Vice President by McCain.

Victoria Naegle, former editor, The Frontiersman. Victoria was a key observer of Palin in her first 2 years as mayor. The Frontiersman had a contentious relationship with Palin in the first 6 months of her time as mayor.

Dianne Woodruff, Wasilla City Councilwoman. As a member of the Wasilla city council, she’s witnessed the social and financial aftermath of Palin’s terms as mayor.

Howard Bess, Baptist Minister and Mat-Su Valley resident. He and Dr. Susan Lemagie fought to keep abortion safe and legal in the Mat-Su valley where Wasilla is located. They eventually won a landmark case in the Alaskan Supreme Court against the hospital board that Palin had helped to get elected.

Geran Tarr, Chair Alaska Women’s Lobby. Geran has had first hand experiences in supporting women in Alaska.

We feel that with an issue as controversial and important as this one, the more information people have about this issue, the better. Below are resources that may be helpful in order to better understand the issues we raise in our video. We look forward to your comments and ideas. Thank you for watching!

Sarah Palin: Religion in Politics

Mean Girl: Sarah Palin Has a Way of Using “Old Boys” — Then Dumping Them When They Become Inconvenient.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Detroit Sept. 5, 2008.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in Detroit Sept. 5, 2008.

Remember the beautiful, yet back-stabbing, bitchy girls in high school who were always able to twist the guys around their little finger and get whatever they wanted?  As more is revealed of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s character throughout her political career in Alaska, there seems to be too many parallels to those girls we all hoped to never deal with again after high school graduation.  In an excellent piece by Salon.com founder David Talbot published September 23, 2008, Gov. Sarah Palin’s behavior towards male political mentors and claims to shaking up the “old boys” network are turned upside down, leaving us all wondering, do we really want to go back to high school?

Before Sarah Palin decided to run for the Wasilla mayor’s office in 1996 against incumbent John Stein, the Palins and Steins were friends. John Stein had helped launch Palin’s political career, mentoring the hockey mom during her 1994 run for City Council, along with veteran council member Nick Carney. Stein’s wife, Karen Marie, went to aerobics classes with Palin.

But when she announced her candidacy for Stein’s seat, vowing to overturn the city’s “old boy” establishment, a different Sarah Palin emerged. “Things got very ugly,” recalled Naomi Tigner, a friend of the Steins. “Sarah became very mean-spirited.”

The Wasilla mayor’s seat is nonpartisan, and Mayor Stein, a former city planner who had held the post for nine years, ran a businesslike campaign that stressed his experience and competency. But Palin ignited the traditionally low-key race with scorching social issues, injecting “God, guns and abortion into the race — things that had nothing to do with being mayor of a small town,” according to Tigner.

Palin’s mayoral campaign rode the wave of conservative, evangelical fervor that was sweeping Alaska in the ’90s. Suddenly candidates’ social values, not their ability to manage the roads and sewer systems, were dominating the debate. “Sarah and I were both Republicans, but this was an entirely new slant to local politics — much more aggressive than anything I’d ever seen,” said Stein, looking back at the election that put Palin on the political map.

There was a knife-sharp, personal edge to Palin’s campaign that many locals found disturbing, particularly because of the warm relationship between Palin and Stein before the race.

“I called Sarah’s campaign for mayor the end of the age of innocence in Wasilla,” said Carney.

Even though Palin knew that Stein is a Protestant Christian, from a Pennsylvania Dutch background, her campaign began circulating the word that she would be “Wasilla’s first Christian mayor.” Some of Stein’s supporters interpreted this as an attempt to portray Stein as Jewish in the heavily evangelical community. Stein himself, an eminently reasonable and reflective man, thinks “they were redefining Christianity to mean born-agains.”

The Palin campaign also started another vicious whisper campaign, spreading the word that Stein and his wife — who had chosen to keep her own last name when they were married — were not legally wed. Again, Palin knew the truth, Stein said, but chose to muddy the waters. “We actually had to produce our marriage certificate,” recalled Stein, whose wife died of breast cancer in 2005 without ever reconciling with Palin.

“I had a hand in creating Sarah, but in the end she blew me out of the water,” Stein said, sounding more wearily ironic than bitter. “Sarah’s on a mission, she’s an opportunist.”

According to some political observers in Alaska, this pattern — exploiting “old-boy” mentors and then turning against them for her own advantage — defines Sarah Palin’s rise to power. Again and again, Palin has charmed powerful political patrons, and then rejected them when it suited her purposes. She has crafted a public image as a clean politics reformer, but in truth, she has only blown the whistle on political corruption when it was expedient for her to do so. Above all, Palin is a dynamo of ambition, shrewdly maneuvering her way through the notoriously compromised world of Alaska politics, making and breaking alliances along the way.

With its frontier political infrastructure and its geyser of oil money, Alaska has become as notorious as a third-world petro-kingdom. In recent years, scandal has seeped throughout the state’s political circles — and at the center of this widening spill is Alaska’s powerful patronage king, Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, and wealthy oil contractor Bill Allen.

Despite Palin’s reform reputation, she has maintained a delicate relationship with Stevens over the years — courting his endorsement for governor, then distancing herself after his 2007 federal indictment on corruption charges, and then cozying up again when it appeared he might survive politically. As for Allen — the former oil roughneck whose North Slope wealth has greased many a palm in Alaska — Palin found nothing wrong with his money when she ran for lieutenant governor in 2002.

Palin’s reputation as a reformer stems primarily from her headline-grabbing ouster of state GOP chairman Randy Ruedrich from the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for flagrant conflict-of-interest abuses. At the time, Palin was heralded in the press as a whistle-blower, but it was later revealed that she was guilty of the same charge that she had brought against Ruedrich — using state office equipment for partisan political business. (While still mayor of Wasilla, she sent out campaign fundraising appeals from her office during her race for lieutenant governor.)

Others suspect that Palin had self-serving reasons for taking on Ruedrich and resigning her seat on the commission. The state energy panel had ignited a public firestorm in Palin’s home base, Mat-Su Valley, by secretly leasing sub-surface drilling rights on thousands of residential lots to a Colorado-based gas producer. Outraged farmers and homeowners, who woke up one morning to find drilling equipment being hauled onto their land, were in open revolt against the commission. While Palin initially supported the leasing plan, she was shrewd enough to realize it was political suicide to alienate conservative property owners in her own district. According to some accounts, she was also growing tired of commuting to state offices in Anchorage and poring over dry, tedious technical manuals for her job. All in all, it seemed like the right move to jump ship — and going out a hero was an added plus.

In the end, Ruedrich admitted wrongdoing and settled the ethics case by paying $12,000 in civil fines. But Palin did not drive the well-connected Republican operative into exile. In fact, he remains the party’s state chairman and he could be seen on the floor of the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., hugging the newly crowned vice-presidential candidate and cheering her feisty speech against greedy old boys like, well, him.

“The idea that Sarah shook up the state’s old-boy network is one big fantasy, it’s complete bullshit,” Andrew Halcro said. “She got all this public acclaim for throwing people who backed her under the bus — but she only did it after they became expendable, when she no longer needed them.

“The good old boys in Alaska are still the good old boys — they’re alive and kicking. Randy is still running the Republican Party — he wasn’t happy about being turned into a national poster boy for corruption, but he went along with the program. Ted Stevens is still running for reelection. And [scandal-tainted Alaska Rep.] Don Young is, too. So where’s the new era of change that Palin supposedly brought to Alaska?”

Mean Girl: Sarah Palin Has a Way of Using “Old Boys” — Then Dumping Them When They Become Inconvenient.

Kissing the Jewish Vote Goodbye: Sarah Palin’s Evangelical Christianity and Perfunctory Support for Israel are Likely to Turn Off Jewish McCain Supporters

Journalist Richard Silverstein, whose blog Tikun Olam is dedicated to the resolution of the Israeli-Arb Conflict, wrote a recent article for the Guardian.co.uk on the selection of Governor Sarah Palin as Senator John McCain’s vice presidential running mate. 

Praise the Lord and pass the ballot box.

Things are different in Alaska, perhaps because politically there is less at stake. But now that Sarah Palin moves onto a national stage as John McCain’s running mate, it might be useful to examine some of her faith-based values in greater detail.

She emphasised these views in a talk she gave in June at her hometown church in Wasilla, Alaska. In his introduction, controversial evangelical Pastor Ed Kalnins noted that when he first met Palin, she was the mayor of the town:

When I got the chance to meet our mayor, I said: “This person loves Jesus. That’s the bottom line. She loves Jesus with everything she has. She’s a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ before she’s a mayor.”

After boasting that her 19-year-old son Track had enlisted in the military and was about to be deployed to Iraq, Palin said:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [US soldiers] out on a task that is from God. … That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God’s plan.

Subsequently, she spoke about a $30bn natural gas pipeline that she’s seeking to build from Alaska through Canada to the lower 48 states:

I can work really, really hard to get a natural gas pipeline, a $30bn project that’s going to create a lot of new jobs for Alaskans and will have a lot of energy flowing through here. And pray about that also. I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that.

Then, after listing the tasks she can do as governor to make the state a decent place to live, she added:

None of that is gonna do any good if the people’s heart isn’t right with God. We can work together to make sure that God’s will be done here in Alaska.

After watching this video, I can perfectly understand why evangelicals are overjoyed with her nomination. But I can’t understand why McCain was as well. Did he not think that statements like this might disturb non-evangelicals, not to mention non-Christians, of which, believe it or not, there are a few in this country?

Religiously, Sarah Palin is George Bush unbuttoned. The latter manages much of the time to disguise the evangelical passion of his political mission. Palin possesses the same zeal, but lays it on the line for all to see. There is no artifice, no subtlety. It’s all right there. If this woman is right for the vice-presidency, then evangelical Christianity is even more pervasive and powerful than I feared.

Frankly, candidates like Palin are the Jews’ worst nightmare. The sentiments she expresses are part of a vestigial memory we internalise about what intolerance and bigotry sounds like. This certainly doesn’t rise to the level of flat-out anti-Semitism. But we know when we’re not wanted, and as non-believers we’re not wanted in the evangelical Christian worldview, except as enablers of Jesus’ final coming.

The Politico’s Ben Smith reports that only two weeks ago, Palin attended her local church to hear Jews for Jesus executive director David Brickner excoriate Jews for not accepting Him as their Lord and saviour:

Brickner’s mission has drawn wide criticism from the organised Jewish community, and the Anti-Defamation League accused them in a report of “targeting Jews for conversion with subterfuge and deception”.

Brickner … described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God’s “judgment of unbelief” of Jews who haven’t embraced Christianity.

“Judgment is very real and we see it played out on the pages of the newspapers and on the television. It’s very real. When [Brickner’s son] was in Jerusalem he was there to witness some of that judgment, some of that conflict, when a Palestinian from East Jerusalem took a bulldozer and went plowing through a score of cars, killing numbers of people. Judgment – you can’t miss it.”

I’m not going to make the same mistake anti-Obamaites made in attributing the Rev Jeremiah Wright’s views to Obama by attributing Brickner’s views to Palin. But I think it’s entirely legitimate to ask what she was doing there while a speaker Jews view as anathema was expressing such ideas. And it’s appropriate to insist that she not participate in such forums in the future and that she dissociate herself from the views she heard that day.

We are a minority who, in a way, lives on the kindness of strangers, to quote Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire. In the evangelical world that Palin embraces there is little kindness for Jews.

Until now, McCain enjoyed the highest poll ratings of a Republican presidential candidate in a long time (around 32%). No longer. With Palin on his ticket he can kiss a good deal of that Jewish vote goodbye. Sure, he’ll still retain 20-25% of the hardcore true believers. But forget the rest. Smith also writes about an email he received from the Republican Jewish Coalition touting Palin as a friend of Israel because her office has an Israeli flag on the wall:

The fact that this tiny image [of the Israeli flag] is the best the official voice of Republican Jewry has to defend Palin is a mark that McCain may have just helped solve Obama’s Jewish problem.

On Tuesday, MSNBC reported that Palin, chaperoned by Joe Lieberman, had her first pro forma meeting with Aipac’s national board of directors at her Minneapolis hotel, where the campaign has sequestered her:

A campaign official … said [the meeting] was geared towards putting the American Jewish community at ease over her understanding of US-Middle East relations.

“That’s obviously going to be an issue,” the aide said. “It’s not like being the senator from New York, obviously. But these aren’t issues that are off her radar.”

Palin … expressed her “heartfelt support for Israel” and spoke of the threats it faces from Iran and others, the campaign official said.

“We had a good productive discussion on the importance of the US-Israel relationship, and we were pleased that governor Palin expressed her deep, personal, and lifelong commitment to the safety and well-being of Israel,” Aipac spokesman Josh Block said. “Like senator McCain, the vice-presidential nominee understands and believes in the special friendship between the two democracies and would work to expand and deepen the strategic partnership in a McCain/Palin administration.”

This is clearly boilerplate stuff. And you’ll notice that the story was fed to the press by spokespeople instead of the candidate herself. This is a further indication of nervousness on the campaign’s part in having Palin present her own views on the issue.

Clearly, McCain’s people worry that Palin has as little understanding of Israel as she has of other major foreign policy issues. It would be legitimate to question whether, at this point, she gets many issues of concern to the Jewish community. Her evangelical background isn’t going to help persuade Jews otherwise.

This is through no fault of her own. But the fault lies with McCain, who chose Palin without thinking through the impact this would have on his campaign in the Jewish community.

Kissing the Jewish Vote Goodbye